Pat Riley Wants Luxury Tax Breaks for the Miami Heat

by July 15, 2013

Miami Heat president Pat Riley has a great challenge ahead of him — to retain LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, and not get killed by the luxury tax bill. Riley says he lobbied the NBA about cutting a little bit of slack to teams like his, who inked deals with superstars prior to the establishment of the new, punitive fiscal rules. Per the Sun-Sentinel: “‘I hope I don’t get in trouble for saying this,’ Riley said on his Friday conference call, ‘but I was always a proponent of any of the teams that had signed players to contracts that were under the old CBA should have had some consideration with the new CBA as to how the tax was going to be charged to them over the years, until their contracts ran out, that there should have been some consideration for that.’ Instead, Heat owner Micky Arison now not only is facing a $33 million luxury-tax penalty this coming season, but there could be even more dire implications going forward with the massive annual salaries of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. ‘That really did, probably, in the long run, sort of hurt us from that standpoint,’ Riley said of the lack of tax relief for contracts in place before the stiffer luxury-tax rates that kick in this season became reality. Next season will be the third under the CBA adopted following the 2011 lockout. Riley said that tends to be the time in the NBA when changes turn into cold realities. ‘When you change things that have been operating in a certain manner for years,’ he said, ‘then usually two or three years later, you’ll find out what the good was and what the bad was, on both sides of the table, both for the owners and for the players. I think we’re getting to the point where we’re seeing the new CBA, as punitive as the tax ramifications can become, that teams will manage their payrolls I think based on that. And I think, probably, we’re going to be one of those teams, too. There comes economic decisions and basketball decisions, that’s what this is all about right now. I make basketball decisions, but I am more aware now than I’ve ever been because of the new CBA and what that brings to my desk every day.’ When it comes to those basketball decisions, Riley said he believes his veteran core remains reliable and hungry. ‘Yes,’ he said, ‘sometimes at the end of it does get a little bit stale. But I don’t think we’re at that point right now.'”